Arthur Stringer House, London, Ontario
17 March 2012
The current edition of Chatham This Week features Karen Robinet's tribute to that neglected man of letters Arthur Stringer. There are a few words by yours truly, along with a photo, much like the one above, that I took last month.
Arthur Stringer was a hometown boy who made good, though you'd never know it walking through Chatham; not even on Colborne, the street of his birth. As Ms Robinet notes – with some regret, I think – the only lasting memorials to the man are in London, the city to which his family moved in 1884. Victor Lauriston picks up the story in Arthur Stringer: Son of the North (Ryerson, 1941):
The records of the Middlesex Teachers' Association show that he was awarded the Diploma of Honour as the pupil obtaining the highest standing in the High School Entrance examination in the year 1886. At the London Collegiate Institute he established his dislike and likewise revealed his leaning toward letters by founding and editing a school magazine, Chips, copy of which are still treasured by L.C.I. Old Boys.
While the London Collegiate Institute was destroyed by fire in 1920, the house in which Stringer spent the latter years of his childhood still stands... as does the school that bears his name.
'Tis a touch bland, 'tis true, but still I'm impressed; we don't see many tributes of this kind in Canada... And then, as if to disprove my own observation I find that there's also a school named in honour of Victor Lauriston, Stringer's biographer.
Never mind. I'm standing by my words.